As the FTC was sending warning letters to top social influencers from Sean Combs to Kourtney Kardashian over endorsement disclosures, others were committing the same offense promoting the Hunger Games that was the Fyre Festival. The social meltdown has led to a slew of lawsuits and the next wave may be targeted at the celebrities that posted about it on Instagram without following FTC guidelines.
With the growing influence of people through social media and dollars spent to be mentioned by them, it comes as no surprise regulators would apply greater scrutiny. The Fyre Festival disaster has created a greater opportunity for standing in a court claiming personal damages. Beyond the thousands of dollars doled out, fans were encouraged to travel to a potentially dangerous situation under false pretenses.
Will the Fyre Festival create a tipping point for the mega influencers? Working with them isn’t a strategy we generally recommend to clients. Part of the problem is the lack of connection between them and the brand. Better to find someone who aligns with your brand naturally. Their audience is likely to be a more targeted group, and when you find the right fit, the return ends up being much greater than the value of the contract.
Another retro approach picking up steam is working with micro influencers. They are part of the long tail that can be harder to tap, but more rewarding in the long run. Marketers have become so focused on follower and reach numbers that they have lost sight of some of the best aspects of social media, the gathering of people around areas of shared interest. There seems to be a fallback in thinking of reaching people as marketers have in traditional mediums. Have we forgotten that social media has shattered the paradigm?
We need to stop thinking of Instagram as a billboard on your phone, and remember the engagement opportunities social media provides for brands to connect with consumers in new ways. Those who get it will thrive, while those who fail will lose share of voice and market.